Turning Attention To Single-Use Plastic – Corporate & Individual Responsibility

Supported by Ara Chackerian

Occasionally, humans can be consumed by the overwhelming number of distant decisions that are out of one individual’s control, but greatly impact each and every person’s life similarly. So when you hear about large corporations and government entities implementing their sustainable environmental practices which will affect a mass population, it may produce a glimmer of hope!

In August 2017, the UK’s largest retailer, Tesco, stopped selling plastic bags. Statistics say that about 1 million single use plastic bags are used every minute.

The state of Texas in the US has a long and controversial history of plastic bag bans. A report published this past summer questions the effectiveness of how this ban impacts the environment, as people are using heavier weight plastic bags to replace the single use plastic, which has a larger net carbon footprint. The intention is sustainable practices, but seemingly the system needs to be tweaked. This is an example of positive intention that has not been properly thought through. Note that 7 of 16 counties that voted on banning plastic bags in Texas passed. Dallas, Texas, failed the legislation in 2014.

A well known pub chain in the UK, JD Wetherspoon, is also no longer offering patrons plastic straws in their drinks, due to the growing epidemic of plastic straws landing in our oceans. The United States is a culprit of using over 500 million plastic straws in just one day. If we don’t limit the use of plastic straws in our daily lives, by the year 2050 there will be more plastic straws in the ocean than fish. Scientists suggest that plastic pollution is very close to being permanent and that plastic can be found in everything, such as the tap water and even in salt and inside of fish. Paper straws and trendy metal straws are new, popular replacements for businesses and home/personal use.

While the awareness and actions around these small (but effective) changes to more sustainable environmental practices are being made by retailers, select counties and informed individuals like you and I, it can be easy to lose sight of how much change needs to still be accomplished before our society is fully sustainable. What’s important on an individual level is that we never cease striving to be better, as what’s been done is still not enough. It is our responsibility as inhabitants of this planet to vocalize our priorities for the environment and speak the truths to our legislators. Change starts with you and I, at an individual level. If we’re lucky, our beliefs might be able to reach someone that owns an national retail chain….

The Lonely Whale Foundation would like everyone to take the #StopSuckingChallenge and refuse to use straws from now on. If we all do this, 500 million plastic straws would be kept out of the oceans each day. I’ve pledged my commitment and shared it on social media to hopefully inspire others. Will you?